Kindergarten students enjoy real life science lesson at educator’s family farm

FORT KENT, Maine — A Fort Kent educator and farmer opened the fields of his family farm to kindergarten students for a hands-on science project. 

Four classes of Fort Kent Elementary school kindergartners totaling about 60 students took a field trip to Anderson Family Farm the last week of school to plant pumpkin seedlings they began growing in their classrooms. 

The children will visit the farm again as first-graders in the fall to harvest the fully grown pumpkins. 

One of the learning standards for the kindergarten classes is about plants and what they need to survive, kindergarten teacher Grace Sirois said. 

“The kids were excited to see how quickly the seeds sprouted,” she said. 

Dean of students Kevin Anderson and his wife Janice own and operate the farm

FORT KENT, Maine – June 16, 2022 – Fort Kent Elementary School kindergarten students learned about science while enjoying fresh air and blue skies at Anderson Family Farm during the last week of school. (Courtesy of Kevin Anderson)

When Anderson left his job teaching science at Valley Rivers Middle School to take over the role of dean of students last year, he said he planned to help impart some science knowledge to the elementary school students.

“I will no longer be teaching science in the traditional sense,” Anderson said at the time. “I do have some ideas about trying to incorporate what I do on our farm with the students, which certainly is ‘real life’ science.”

Anderson thought up the pumpkin project with that in mind. 

“Hopefully it’ll get a few (students) hooked on how cool science can be. It’ll also teach them that things don’t just come from the store. It has to be grown somewhere first,” Anderson said. 

Sirois said she will include the pumpkin project into her kindergarten class next year as well, and has ideas on how to expand it. 

“The kids loved this activity and we will definitely do it again,” Sirois said. “I think next year we will have the kids write a daily science journal to document how the seed is growing into a plant.”

Anderson donated the pumpkin seeds and Pelletier Florist donated soil and planting cups. 

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